Pollution, illegal hunting threaten fisheries in Turkey's Marmara Sea
BANDIRMA, Balıkesir - Anatolia News Agency | 3/4/2011 12:00:00 AM |
Reduced levels of oxygen in the water and illegal fishing methods have hurt fishing in the Marmara Sea, the head of the local Chamber of Commerce has said.
Reduced levels of oxygen in the water and the use of illegal fishing methods have hurt the fishing business in Turkey’s Marmara Sea, according to Osman Kocaman, the head of the Chamber of Commerce in Bandırma.
“Last fall was not fruitful for the fishing business in the Marmara region. There are no fish in the Black Sea at the moment. Only the anchovy was good in the fall, Kocaman, who owns a fish exporting company in Bandırma, an industrialized seaside district in the province of Balıkesir, told the Anatolia news agency.
“Normally the catch volume rises in spring in the Marmara and the Aegean, but we haven’t got much hope for this year,” he said.
Fish prices have increased seriously in the last two months, said Kocaman, who is also the head of an adaptation commission to the European Union at the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges, or TOBB.
“Migratory fish pass through the Marmara Sea on their way to the Black Sea, where they lay their eggs, and come back in the fall,” he said. “But the fish stopped staying long in the Marmara Sea to feed due to the lack of oxygen in water, which affects fisheries negatively.”
The main reason for the decline in oxygen levels is pollution, Kocaman said. He added that the drop in fish populations is also due to trawl-net fishing, an illegal method that destroys the sea bottom, where fish lay their eggs, and catches even very small fish that have yet to reproduce.
“Especially in the Istanbul strait, fishers openly fish with trawl nets until the morning. The Bosphorus is a cone that collects fish from the Aegean and the Black Sea. The small blue fish hunters trawl here,” he said. “If this is not prevented and the pollution is not stopped, all predictions on developing fisheries here are nothing but a dream. If we cannot halt illegal practices on the sea, the fisheries will die.”
The chamber head said that just having an Aquaculture Department within the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Ministry is not enough to solve the problems facing fisheries. The EU demands the foundation of an Aquaculture General Directorate, he said, adding that the local directorates of the ministry do not have enough staff to inspect or support the sector.